Posted by: MandyS | February 24, 2014

Choosing and evaluating a technology

So, a variety of contexts together with a technology in support of that context have been proposed. To make the best of a bad job, I thought I would look at each of the proposals and consider my reasons for support or otherwise.

1. Twitter to improve business communication. I like Twitter and use it for work, study and socially to keep in touch and up-to-date. Many businesses (Solicitors firms, Barristers, Law Society, Judicial Office) do use Twitter as a communication tool with both their staff, members and clients. Its relatively quick and easy to use, which is key for the busy practitioner. Effective communication within a business is a key issue and so investigating technologies capable of improving it would be beneficial. Blogging might be another here or even the use of Audioboo suggested for revision, given that bite size information is often all that is needed. Another that has been suggested is Yammer, which is a bit like using Facebook/Twitter but within an organisation.

2. Blogging to engage university students. I suppose it depends on what one wants the students to engage with. If its collaboration then it may be a good starting point but although I like blogging and find it particularly useful in organising my thought processes, I think many students would consider it relatively time consuming unless there is a significant gain. If its engaging with the materials, perhaps something a little more interactive might be more appropriate. Prezi (as suggested for science) might be good for presentation as would Blendspace. The former would perhaps be more appropriate in an organisational setting but I can already see how I would use the latter for presenting legal updates to lawyers in a much more engaging way than using PowerPoint. I am not sure how Blendspace allows for collaboration though?

3. Popplets and Audioboo for revision. These are new to me so I have had a look to see what they entail. In theory, I can see the attraction for revision – bite size information which learners love. The only downsides I see for Popplets is that it is Ipad or Web. My daughter uses her phone for this type of revision because it is mobile and small enough for her pocket. Granted Ipad is small but not quite as portable and if one doesn’t have an Ipad is one restricted to the computer? Mobility may be an issue here. Audioboo strikes me as being an audible Twitter. This being the case, is it possible to restrict what you get? I am just thinking of the amount that comes via my Twitter and what I would have to sift through to get to the revision part.

4. Natural readers as an alternative to written format. I think I would have to see how this works in practice for a particular project that is envisaged by the activity.

5. Prezi to present content graphically. This is one of those things that I have heard about but not looked into. Having done so, I am quite impressed and can see how this would enhance any presentation. My concern is how creative one has to be or whether the creation is guided. Also, the first site I looked at suggested only the first months use was free, thereafter one pays a subscription?

6. Polleverywhere to engage students during face-to-face learning. I suppose the idea for this is that it is anonymous encouraging students to reach a view without being singled out as being opposite to everyone else. I can see the value in this but I do wonder how many students attend face-to-face with laptops or would be willing to use their mobiles for this purpose?

7. Dipity to create a collaborative timeline. Again, I had to look this up and I can see the potential for many uses in my law group so I am grateful for this having been suggested. I think this would be a good technology to consider for assessment of a collaborative activity, which one of the other groups is considering, and I can also see it as a worthwhile revision tool.

8. Voicethread for asynchronous support during assignments or revision. This would be another good collaborative tool as one can mix audio with visual and so has the advantage over Audioboo for some purposes.

A web based learning course or lecture has been suggested as the context. Although general in application, it allows for the consideration of a variety of technologies to support it, but it perhaps needs narrowing down as to the type and length. Tools for presentation beyond PowerPoint might be an option here? I can’t envisage a forum being used for a one-off lecture but maybe Twitter might be an option, as with those attending conferences? I also like the idea of the context of tools to support revision as students are always keen to find easier ways in managing this side of their studies. Ideally, revision should be an on-going process and the tools suggested so far would encourage that.



  1. Hi Amanda
    Interesting and useful summaries here. I thought I’d answer your query about how Blendspace could be used for collaboration by attaching this link to a video called “Creating collaborative research presentations”
    Amanda HV

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